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Richard Cessna

1926 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Richard Cessna Obituary
Richard "Gene" Cessna

February 25, 1926

March 14, 2014

Gene Cessna, Naval machinist mate, WWII veteran, carpenter, contractor, wood artist and architect, father, and a husband of 43 years to Diana Cessna, passed away peacefully on March 14, 2014, in Palm Desert, CA, at the age of 88. Gene was born February 25, 1926, in Cumberland, MD, to Curtis and Marion Cessna who were from Bedford, PA, and later migrated to Los Angeles and Reno, NV. Gene went to school in Los Angeles, but left early to join the US Navy during World War II, where he served in the Pacific Theatre and even witnessed the signing of the peace treaty with Japan while aboard the USS Hawkins. While in Reno, Gene worked in the building trades as a carpenter, draftsman and contractor, pioneering innovative construction techniques that are still used in the industry today. He was a skilled archer and deer hunter, winning awards in both, and a stock car racer. His first marriage, to Irene Boni of Tonopah, produced two children—son Cary and daughter Gerene—and many friends and memories. His marriage to Diana Hultberg in 1971, resulted in the move to Graeagle, CA, where he established the Gene Cessna Construction Company and became known for his impeccable honesty and the motto "Square, Level, and Plumb." Gene designed and built the original Plumas Bank, directed construction of Graeagle Community Church, and designed and built numerous custom homes in the Graeagle, Quincy and Portola areas of northeastern California. He was very proud of these achievements and grateful for the people who had faith in him.

He and Diana enjoyed 20 years in the Graeagle area, raising Edie, Randy and Danny, all Portola High School graduates. Retirement took them to Thousand Palms, CA where they enjoyed the desert life at Tri Palms Estates, serving on the homeowner's board, and competing in shuffleboard and golf. Gene was predeceased by two brothers and two sisters. He is survived by sister Barbara Wilson, of Victorville, CA, wife Diana, and his children: Cary Cessna, Gerene Cessna, Edie H. Chapman (Ed), Randy Hultberg (Cerise), and Dan Cessna (Dee). He also leaves behind grandchildren Brandon and James Cessna, Ian and Elizabeth Chapman, Amber Hultberg, and several nieces and nephews. The family wishes to thank Palm Desert Senior Living, the Johnson family, and those caretakers who cared for Gene in his final days. Services will be held at noon on Friday, March 21st, at Forest Lawn Mortuary in Cathedral City, CA.

Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on Mar. 19, 2014
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